28 May 2009

Breakfast at once



It has now been confirmed by pretty much every local that I have met, that Conce (ConcepciĆ³n) is a boring place with nothing to do.

Having coffee with a few new friends, a woman told me, "When you go out all the places are the same. And if you go to a restaurant all they have is coffee. Bad coffee.
"And everyone eats bread?" I asked.
"Yes," she replied. "That's distinct to this region - because bread is cheap and most people are poor."

In ConcepciĆ³n and central Chile breakfast and lunch are more or less the same as anywhere else in the country. But dinner doesn't exist. Instead there is once ("eleven"), which is a light snack of tea/coffee, bread, cheese, jam and processed meat - like a continental breakfast. In this regard, I was eating a bread-based meal twice a day for the week that I stayed in Conce.

Many of the locals told me that Chileans are generally overweight because of having so much bread in their diet. Not being able to handle so much bread myself I began a search for alternatives so that I could get some variety, and to give me systems a break from the heavily processed carbohydrates of white bread. Let's just say it was not pleasant to stand behind me down-wind.

After a few failed searches my friend, Juan, took me to a great little, family diner with home-cooked, Chilean food. I went there a couple of times. The first time I had cazuela - stew of rice, a big piece of boiled meat, a tiny corn of the cob, boiled potato and a soup of spices and the juices of the meat. It was delicious. The second time I ate a typical chicken dish from the region.



[Above] Happily eating my life-saving cazuela.


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